A magician is a practitioner of magic, the ability to attain objectives or acquire knowledge using supernatural or nonrational means.
Some modern magicians, such as Aleister Crowley and those who follow the traditions of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Ordo Templi Orientis, describe magic in rational terms, using definitions, postulates and theorems. Aleister Crowley said "the magician of the future will use mathematical formulas".
The latter kind of magician can also be referred to as an enchanter, wizard, mage, magus, or thaumaturgist. These overlapping terms may be distinguished by some traditions or some writers. When such distinctions are made, sorcerers are more often practitioners of evocations or black magic, and there may be variations on level and type of power associated with each name.
Some names, distinctions, or aspects may have more of a negative connotation than others, depending on the setting and the context. (See also Magic and Magic and religion, for some examples.)
Many illusionists attempting parlor tricks and sleight of hand receive the title of magician whether it be by label or self description through the many years. A wizard, in this case, is a person who claims to be aptly skilled in arts considered hidden or arcane.
Throughout history, there have been many who have claimed having secret knowledge was result of great often supernatural powers, insofar as certain platitudes alluding to an ability and knowledge of the occult (literally, "hidden") techniques oft felt could be of great import. Perhaps the oldest example of this is knowledge of the jealously guarded secret of the making and tending of fire.
In particular the practice of Alchemy contains many elements that in the modern are now considered magical, awhile other sciences unknown by practitioners of the past have been incorporated into the study and application of chemistry.
Legends in medieval Europe attributed Virgil with prophetic powers, and sometimes more magical abilities, as in the fairy tale "Virgilius the Sorcerer" collected in The Violet Fairy Book. The figure of Faust appears to have been based on an actual alchemist, Johann Georg Faust, who was accused in his lifetime of practicing magic. Merlin a magician of Arthurian Legend is among many others of the multitudes of paganism gods made legend after the fact or in pure fiction.
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